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He fights physically with other children...


Hello --
We are new to the My Out of Control Teen and are really impressed with the material. We have an 11-year old that fights physically with other children when he's frustrated or angry and I'm looking for an appropriate punishment. I see in the material that you have lots of suggestions for many things, but I didn't see anything about this specifically. It doesn't happen that often (but it did tonight when he spent a couple of hours with a new neighbor's son), and he's not in the same situation that often so it's hard to deal with it on a regular basis, but when it does happen it's a big enough deal that I want it to stop. Any suggestions would be most welcome.
Thank you for providing all of this material and any assistance you can provide.
B.
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Hi B.,
The strategy for this particular behavioral problem is in the “Anger Management” chapter, and is entitled “When You Want Something From Your Kid.” Please refer to this strategy using the online version of the eBook (listen to the audio as well).
I’ve taken the liberty of “plugging” your particular situation into the steps:

1. Clearly state your expectation.

"In the future, do not push or hit any of your friends.”

2. When your child plays with friends without fighting, reward with acknowledgment and praise.

"You did such a great job of playing without fighting …that’s you being a good friend.”

Note: "Rewards" such as hugs, kisses, and high-fives increase your children's motivation to do what you ask them to do.

3. If, on the other hand, your child refuses or ignores your request, then a clear warning (with your best poker face) should be given immediately in the form of a simple “If/Then” statement.

"If you choose to push or hit, then you’ll choose the consequence, which will be ________ " (pick the least restrictive consequence first, such as no computer games or T.V. for one evening).

4. If the warning is ignored, then quickly follow through with the discipline.

"Because you chose to hit/push, you also chose the consequence -- which is no games or T.V. this evening."

5. If your child refuses to accept the consequence (e.g., watches T.V. anyway), take everything away (or at least his "favorite" stuff and/or activities) and ground for 3 days. If child has a temper tantrum when he finds out he is grounded for 3 days, the 3-day-discipline does not start until he calms down. If he violates the 3-day-discipline at any point, merely re-start the 3 days rather than making it 7 days or longer.

6. Tell your child exactly he can do to EARN his way off discipline.

"If you do not hit or push anyone over the next three days, then you will be ungrounded – and you will get all your toys and games returned to you …on the other hand, if you DO hit or push anyone, the 3-day-discipline starts over."
We can tweek the above strategy as needed. Please keep me posted.
Mark
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Thank you Mark! That really helps. We are doing much of this and appreciate seeing the pattern laid out to keep us on track. With the consistency idea in mind, I'm working on zeroing in on every little instance of angry behavior as a means of working it out with the small things—even kicking the stairs when he walks up to take a shower he doesn't want to take :) and I'm hoping I can be diligent enough to make a difference. The idea of complimenting him and small rewards for behaving well often do get overlooked (it seems so basic to be civil when we're around other people!) but your recommendation to notice those is a good one.
B.

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